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DW / Carlos Saide, MDM candidate at the opening of the campaign in Nampula
Campaigning for the Nampula by-election started yesterday, with parties complaining of the disfiguring of publicity material, physical assaults and the ban on campaigning in public spaces.
From Tuesday until the 21st of this month, five political parties will be on the ground in Nampula, Mozambique, campaigning for 296,590 voters to elect a new mayor to replace Mahamudo Amurane, murdered on October 4 last year.
Accusations between the parties have already started, despite calls for civility from the National Elections Commission (CNE) electoral administration body.
Some of the parties are dissatisfied with the current situation in the region.
The Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) party has complained about provocations perpetrated by Frelimo and the MDM.
Ossufo Ulane, spokesman to Renamo candidate Paulo Vahanle, says that the election campaign had a “terrible” kickoff and lamented the behaviour of colleagues.
“Frelimo started off with skirmishes, overlapping our posters.The MDM, which is still running the city, has banned Renamo from using Nampula’s central precinct for the opening of its campaign, and there are people ‘imported’ from outside districts [allegedly by Frelimo] to pack out the city’s electoral rolls. This means that everything is already ‘programmed’,” said Renamo’s spokesman.
Strong start for AMUSI
According to its leader and candidate Mario Albino Muquissice, the Action of the United Movement for Integral Salvation Party (AMUSI) had “started with a very strong campaign, as you can see here by the crowd”.
Muquissice said he expected the campaign to be orderly and festive, but warned: “There is litigation by the National Election Commission pending on the regularisation of the voter cards [of the alleged ‘imported’ people placed on the city’s electoral roll]. All this means that everything is already ‘programmed’.”
Regarding the electoral rolls, Luciano Tarieque [MDM] says his party can prove the replacement of 217 electoral rolls in the city of Nampula by other districts’ rolls.
“We want to urge the competent bodies to regulate this, or we will have to wait until October 10 for the normal elections,” he says.
Frelimo denies allegations
Frelimo has, through its spokesman Caifadine Manasse, denied the allegations, and says that everything is under the control of the electoral administration bodies and would continue to be so.
“We believe that any problems that may occur with the electoral rolls should be communicated to the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration and the National Electoral Commission, which should take appropriate measures. All political parties with some concern about the electoral process must act like us at Frelimo: we will go directly to STAE and the organ will explain what is happening. This process should not tarnish Frelimo, because the party is not the STAE, much less the machinery of the electoral administration. Frelimo is a political party, and competes on an equal footing with other political parties,” Manasse said.
Only one woman candidate
The Humanitarian Party of Mozambique’s Filomena Mutoropa, the only woman running for mayor in Mozambique’s third largest city, went to the Comauto market in the busy neighbourhood of Namicopo to canvass votes from vendors.
“We are here to ask the population to vote for me, and not to fail this time. We will continue with the removal of garbage, the construction and rehabilitation of drainage ditches, and the rehabilitation and construction of access roads,” she said.
Accusations apart, the competing political parties began the election campaign in a party atmosphere, holding parades through the city streets and rallies and campaigning door to door.
On the second day of the electoral campaign the search for votes was expected to continue under a strong police presence. The police have said they will not allow public order and tranquillity to be called into question during the electoral process.
More about the elections
According to the Lusa news agency, voting in the Nampula by-election will take place at 401 polling stations set up at 54 voting posts.
Here is a list of the candidates for the position of Mayor of Nampula.
Amisse Cololo, of the Liberation Front of Mozambique (Frelimo), ruling party; Paulo Vahanle, Mozambican National Resistance, (Renamo), main opposition party; Carlos Saida Chaúre, of the Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM), third largest party; Filomena Mutoropa, of the Humanitarian Party of Mozambique (PAHUMO) and finally, Mário Albino, of the United Movement Integral Salvation Action, a Nampula citizens’ group.Source: Deutsche Welle